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Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell have reportedly split despite recent "fake news" denial

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/09/2017 

Ben Higgins recently insisted his relationship with fiancee Lauren Bushnell is still wonderful in light of breakup rumors, but according to sources, the Season 20 The Bachelor star is covering up the truth.

Higgins bashed "fake news" and said he's "extremely lucky" to share his life with Bushnell in the caption of a sweet Instagram photo he posted of the couple just last week. Life & Style reported, however, the reality TV stars have indeed broken off their engagement and split despite the united front.

"Ben and Lauren's relationship has been crumbling since before the holiday season, and now they have officially called it quits," a source told Life & Style. "It's only a matter of time before they announce it."

So what went wrong? After all, Higgins, 28, and Bushnell, 27, appeared very happy together on their Freeform spinoff Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?.

"They couldn't agree on many life decisions," the source explained. "Ben was constantly trying to make Lauren love life in Colorado, and Lauren couldn't stand it. She missed LA and wanted to move back, but knew that wasn't an option."

Bushnell is a former flight attendant who began blogging once she moved in with Higgins in Denver, where the former Bachelor holds down a steady day job in software sales.

"They had been putting on a front for months, pretending to be happy for the [Happily Ever After?] show, and Lauren got sick of it," the insider said. "She got sick of sitting at home being an 'almost housewife' to Ben."

Higgins and Bushnell were set to wed in a televised special for ABC, but once the bride-to-be got the ball rolling on wedding plans, an overwhelmed Higgins got cold feet and eventually called the wedding off much to Bushnell's dismay. Higgins wanted to get to know Bushnell better before they took the big leap of getting married.

"Lauren wishes she could have found her happily ever after," the insider told Life & Style, "but she's thankful she didn't air a fake wedding to the whole world."

Bushnell, however, captioned an engagement photo of herself with Higgins two days ago, "We ain't perfect but we tryin'."

Recent rumors of a split began to swirl when Bushnell was photographed enjoying the weekend of January 19 in Nashville with a few of her male and female friends from The Bachelor franchise; however, Higgins was nowhere to be found.

Bushnell later traveled to Mexico with her mother and sister in late January, again without Higgins -- and surprisingly without her 4.25-carat Neil Lane diamond engagement ring, according to her Instagram.

Higgins countered such reports with photos of the alleged happy couple on social media. He said he got a haircut for "date night" -- an NBA basketball game -- last week and later captioned an Instagram photo of the pair in a tropical location: "No need to respond often to rumors or 'fake news.'"

He continued, "But the feeling I have in this picture is the same feeling I have for this girl today. We have entered into a world where rumors will exist we know that, but just know as @laurenbushnell celebrates her birthday tomorrow I am still extremely lucky to be able to share life with her and be by her side."

Higgins and Bushnell's engagement aired on The Bachelor's March 2016 finale, so they met while filming and fell in love a little over one year ago.

Lauren Bushnell/Instagram

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